North US at higher risk of flooding than south | GBRI

A University of Iowa study has found that the risk of flooding in the United States is changing regionally, and the reasons could be shifting rainfall patterns and the amount of water in the ground. The threat of flooding is growing in the northern half of the U.S. and declining in the southern half. The American Southwest and West, meanwhile, are experiencing decreasing flood risk.

UI engineers Gabriele Villarini and Louise Slater compiled water-height information between 1985 and 2015 from 2,042 stream gauges operated by the U.S. Geological Survey. They compared the data with satellite information gathered over more than a dozen years by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission showing ‘basin wetness’ or the amount of water stored in the ground.

According to their findings, the northern parts of the country had more water stored in the ground as compared to the southern parts and thus were at a greater risk of minor to moderate flooding.

Why some sections of the nation are getting more, or less, rainfall is not entirely clear. The researchers say some causes could be the rains are being redistributed as regional climate changes.

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